''FORGET four weeks, we cannot bear to wait four more hours before we see Anuj one last time." This is what members of 23-year-old Anuj Bidve's grieving family had to say after learning from the Greater Manchester police that they will have to wait four weeks before his body can be sent back to India. Anuj's brother-in-law Rakesh Sonawane said the Greater Manchester police told them that this was the normal procedure.
Tragic: Anuj Bidve
Anuj's relatives are in deep trauma and are demanding to know whether he was killed for just being Indian.
Anuj, a resident of Shrikrishna Society in Chandan Nagar, was a football player. He was post-graduate student of micro-electronics at Lancaster University.
Anuj's brother-in-law Rakesh Sonawane, mother Yogini and father
Subhash. Pic/Krunal Gosavi
He was killed in what was termed unprovoked and random firing at Ordsall Lane in Salford, UK. The incident took place when two people accosted Anuj and asked him the time, but before Anuj could answer them one man pulled the trigger on him. The bullet hit Anuj above his left ear and he collapsed on the pavement.
"Anuj was accompanied by eight friends, including one Sarang, when the incident took place," said Sonawane.
According to a UK-based news website, Anuj and his friends were making their way from the Etap hotel in Salford Quays, where they were staying, to the Manchester city centre when he was attacked.
Anuj's father Subhash has posted an appeal on Anuj's Facebook wall urging his friends in the UK to help them expedite the process of sending his body back to India. Bidve, who is an ex-serviceman and currently works as a general manager with a private firm, has also requested the Greater Manchester police and the Indian High Commission in the UK to help expedite the dispatch of the body back to India.
"At least, seeing his body will help us come to terms with this deep agony and help us with mental closure of some sort," he said, unable to hold back his tears "We have complete trust in the UK police as well as the UK Government. We thank the local police for keeping us updated on the progress of the investigations."
Sonawane, who is Anuj's elder sister Nehal's husband, said, "At 2.30 pm it was confirmed that this unfortunate incident had happened. We are all in deep trauma, and it is difficult to come to terms with it. I and Anuj's father Subhash are planning to fly to the UK to see him once, but we have not yet blocked our tickets."
Shekhar Desai, the husband of Anuj's aunt, said, "Anuj had been preparing for the civil services examination but as he secured less marks in the final interview he diverted his attention towards completing the course in the UK. He had earnestly aspired to be at the top but his dreams will only remain dreams now."
Last phone call
>> Anuj Bidve had last spoken to his father Subhash and mother Yogini on Sunday morning. He had told them that he had secured a railway pass to travel to Manchester from Lancaster. He also told his mother that he and his friends had booked a hotel. The parents were overjoyed after Anuj informed them that he had got A+ grade in his examination.
>> Owing to a public holiday, the Bidve family received no condolence calls. Apart from an email from the Chief Secretary, no one from State Government, the Centre or the Collector's office thought of calling on the bereaved family.
Outpouring of Support on internet
A movement demanding justice for Anuj is gaining momentum on social networking sites and Twitter. His friends and residents of the UK are demanding justice. UK residents have organised peace and candlelight marches for the purpose. So far, two community pages have been started on Facebook.
>> Anuj's friends in the UK have started Anuj Bidve-Help page on Facebook, appealing for help for his family to expedite the process of dispatching his body back to India
>> On another page, Justice To Anuj, UK residents have urged that the person behind the attack be severely punished